10 Reasons Why the Upper East Side is New York City’s Hottest Neighborhood Right Now
By: Sandra Ramani
A leafy haven known for its venerable museums, high-end boutiques, and close proximity to Central Park, the Upper East Side has a reputation for being one of Manhattan’s […]
A leafy haven known for its venerable museums, high-end boutiques, and close proximity to Central Park, the Upper East Side has a reputation for being one of Manhattan’s most charming — and, admittedly, staid — neighborhoods. Recently, however, the entire city seems to be heading uptown. With the opening of the first phase of the long-awaited Second Avenue subway line earlier this year, an influx of new establishments with a downtown sensibility is turning this sleepy enclave into the city’s hottest place to be.
The restaurants, residences, hotels, and museums that are defining the new Upper East Side include 180 East 88th, The Surrey, The Kent, The Lowell, The Met Breuer, Ziggy’s, The Mark, Sugar East, The Carlyle, and 200 East 62nd Street.
180 East 88th
For its first uptown project, national real estate developer, designer, builder and property manager DDG picked a quiet stretch of East 88th Street in the historic Carnegie Hill neighborhood. “While we’ve had a strong presence in Lower Manhattan, San Francisco, and now Brooklyn and Palm Beach, we’ve always had our eye on the Upper East Side, which offers a blend of traditional and new that few other neighborhoods can match,” explains Joseph A McMillan, Jr., Chairman and CEO of DDG.
Inspired by Manhattan’s building boom of the ‘20s, ‘30s, and ‘40s, the new 180 East 88th Street residential building mixes a modern aesthetic with nods to traditional artisan masonry and craftsmanship. Look for touches like handmade Petersen Tegl bricks from Denmark, wood flooring imported from a Benedictine monastery in Austria, and custom kitchens by Molteni&C Dada. Ranging from lofts to five-bedroom apartments, and including triplex and full-floor units, the building’s 48 condos boast extra-high ceilings (up to an incredible 28 feet 8 inches in some), and 9-foot-tall tilt-turn windows that frame sweeping views.
Shared facilities include a soccer pitch, partial basketball court, game room, residential lounge, wine room, and private fitness and yoga studios, as well as a children’s playroom created in partnership with the Children’s Museum of the Arts.
How to Make an Unexpected Style Statement in the Kitchen
By: Alyssa Clough
What was once an eyesore in the kitchen is now a chic centerpiece. The range hood has become an underrated way to add artful elegance — and utility — to your home. […]
What was once an eyesore in the kitchen is now a chic centerpiece. The range hood has become an underrated way to add artful elegance — and utility — to your home. “We want to reinvent the kitchen hood, in a sense, and make it cool,” says the team at DDG. “We want to turn it into something that people enjoyed seeing, rather than despised.”
DDG is not alone: A handful of New York City developers have started incorporating statement vent hoods into their projects. We chatted with a few experts to find out more about the trend and get their advice on how to make it work in your home.
Get in on trending metals
Metal home decor is in, and range hoods are not immune to this trend, which goes beyond the classic stainless steel. In the all-white kitchens at 180 East 88th, DDG installed a layered brass-clad hood that anchors the room.
The DDG team says, “I think metal is becoming increasingly popular as a hood material, with many designers using stainless steel and brass. Size also seems to be increasing; people are becoming bolder and are open to more oversize, sculptural designs that act as focal points in the room. At DDG, we liked the idea of cladding the hood in brass as it both looked elegant as well as picked up the finishes of the faucet and door handles.”
Let it serve as a focal point
Every style of kitchen has the potential to make a statement with a range hood — even the most minimalist spaces.
“Up until very recently I think the trend was to make the hood more discrete, with designers aiming to make it blend in rather than standout,” says DDG. “We’re starting to see that change more and more as kitchens become larger focal points of residences as gathering and social spaces, not just cooking spaces.”
A hood adds real function
Range hoods are a practical way to ventilate your kitchen, eliminating heat, steam, and smoke from the space. It’s important to have clean air in the kitchen, especially now that incorporating kitchen nooks, more expansive bar seating at kitchen islands, and open floor plans are becoming more popular.
Make the hood an architectural element
At the Fitzroy, a new Chelsea building designed in the Art Deco style by Roman and Williams, the custom copper hoods are reflective of the building’s facade. “Copper is a living material that will patina over time, just like the building itself, which has a terracotta facade and copper-clad windows,” says Michael Stern, CEO of JDS Development, the firm behind the project.
If you have the space, use it
Have high ceilings? Don’t waste the space. Instead of hiding your kitchen hood, use it to create length and drama. DDG suggests a kitchen hood, especially an oversized one, can add a grand element to your space.
Make the kitchen the heart of the home
At 70 Vestry, a new condo building in Tribeca, Related Companies worked with AD100 designer Daniel Romualdez to custom design the kitchens “to be the heart of the home and look more like a family room than a utilitarian kitchen.” “Knowing that buyers expect every aspect of new developments to be curated, we carefully deliberated all of the materials,” says Ben Joseph, Executive Vice President at Related. “The Bardilgio Imperial marble kitchen hoods are flanked by open brass shelves and full length oak cabinetry providing a warm library-like feel for residents.”
New York Lifestyles Magazine
180 East 88th
By: Daniel J. Bollinger
DDG has done it again with a beautiful new development at 180 East 88th. Rising high above the Upper East Side in Carnegie Hill this luxury condo offers 48 units from […]
DDG has done it again with a beautiful new development at 180 East 88th. Rising high above the Upper East Side in Carnegie Hill this luxury condo offers 48 units from studios to five bedrooms including two duplexes and one triplex. Located directly across the street from a Whole Foods and close to Central Park, The Met, The Guggenheim, and many private / public schools, DDG couldn’t have a picked a better location. The layouts and designs of the residences are fantastic.
A Look at the Past
DDG is quickly becoming a leader in NYC development. They are an integrated national real estate firm that takes their design aesthetic and follows it throughout the whole project tastefully and eloquently. For this project, DDG wanted to stay faithful to the pre-war designs in NYC. Some of the characteristics of pre-war residences include brick buildings, high ceilings, herringbone patterns, spacious foyers, arched doorways, and solid wood doors with brass fixtures. DDG has given respect to the past, but with a contemporary spin and on a much grander level. As Joseph A. McMillan, Jr., DDG Chairman and CEO states, “All of our projects have unique attributes to them, such as craft, the unique quality of the materials, or handmade qualities. These attributes are a thread throughout our portfolio.”
The façade is built of handmade Danish Kolumba brick by Peterson Tegl. Each brick is made by hand, and one of the attractive characteristics of these bricks is you can see the thumbprints in each block made by the artisans when pushing the bricks out of the mold. The entryway is a private gated entrance surrounded by natural plantings. The lobby has vaulted plaster ceilings with architectural concrete walls and silver travertine floors inlaid with Austrian white oak which create movement and direction. There is a warm and inviting fireplace with a custom hand-sculpted plaster wall by German artist Jan Hooss. “The city is a very busy place, so we wanted to create an environment where people decompress as soon as they walk in,” says McMillan, and DDG has designed a relaxing oasis with the high arched ceilings and fireplace.
The ceiling heights in these residences are enormous. The majority of NYC ceiling heights are between 9 and 11 feet. A height above 11 feet is rare and desirable. DDG has designed its upper residences with up to 14-foot 2-inch ceiling heights in primary living areas, and the duplexes have 28-foot plus ceilings. This is what sets this building apart. Combine this with the 9-foot windows in the great rooms and DDG delivers magnificent spaces with unbelievable light and views. These great rooms also have hand sculpted picture railings, arched plaster ceilings, and 18-inch baseboard, which are all details popular in pre-war design.
The foyers of the residences have an elliptical entry gallery with a domed ceiling and a matching herringbone oval floor. It is a unique design that nods to pre-war building foyers history with a modern interpretation.
The kitchens and baths are everything we have come to expect in a DDG development. All Gaggenau appliances, custom integrated cabinetry by Molteni&C Dada, with Statuario Marble slab countertops and backsplashes. The custom decorative brass hood enclosure above the range is gorgeous. Brass was a favorite material in the pre-war era, and DDG pays homage by designing the hood out of it, but also has accents of brass in the marble island countertop and employs Fantini faucets in natural brass. They curved one side of the marble countertop to help define the ‘flow’ in the kitchen. I also love the oversized stainless steel sink. The master baths feature a spa-like open wet room design. This opens up the bathroom space. With silver travertine slabs and mosaic tile accented walls and floors, it is truly elegant. Their niche factor is high with a tub length horizontal niche and an equal length vertical niche in the wet room. Once again they employ brass using all Fantini fixtures in natural brass.
The property has eight floors of amenities including a basketball court, soccer pitch, resident’s lounge, a game room, a children’s playroom, a wine room, a fitness center and yoga room and private storage available for purchase. Three catering kitchens can be found within all of these amenity floors.
DDG has done it again with their fantastic design by harkening the pre-war style in their designs and building a 21st-century iconic building. Investing in a DDG development is buying into this new era of NYC architectural history. With protected views from the 8th floor and up North, South, and East, unparalleled 360-degree views from the penthouse, and all of the finest materials and design you cannot go wrong with a DDG project. As McMillan sums up: “From duplex penthouses with 28-foot 8-inch ceilings in the living room, full floor units with 360-degree views and amazing outdoor spaces, we’ve created something that isn’t currently seen in new construction in Manhattan. If you look at the amenities, the quality, the craft, and the materials, it’s something special.”
Inside the Sales Gallery for DDG’s Upper East Side Condo, 180 East 88th
By: Tanay Warerkar
When you enter DDG’s 180 East 88th’s sales gallery you’re immediately struck by the recreation of the building’s facade. This will be created using handmade Kolumba […]
When you enter DDG’s 180 East 88th’s sales gallery you’re immediately struck by the recreation of the building’s facade. This will be created using handmade Kolumba brick made in Denmark by Petersen Tegl — you can see and feel the thumbprints in the grayish facade. Adjacent to it, the large window has been created by Albertini from Italy.
This European influence continues throughout the building, and DDG’s Chairman and CEO Joseph A. McMillan, Jr., said his firm was inspired by Art Deco architecture while thinking about their Upper East Side project.
The sales gallery has been fitted out with what a typical condo’s living room, dining area, kitchen and master bathroom will look like. In these living rooms, or great rooms as they’re being called by DDG, ceiling heights will vary from 14’-2? feet to an astonishing 28?-8?feet in the duplexes, and the windows will be up to nine-feet tall.
The kitchen carries on that European influence with this area being designed by DDG in collaboration with Molteni&C Dada of the Italian company, the Molteni Group. The kitchen will come fitted with a Gaggenau appliance package and Italian Statuario marble slab countertops. Master bathrooms will come fitted with silver travertine and natural brass fixtures by Fantini, also from Italy.
Building lobbies are where developers and architects often love to make the boldest statements, and so too is the case with DDG’s building. A hand-sculpted plaster creation by German artist Jan Hooss can be seen in the sales office. Once the building is complete this work will be transported to the lobby of the building and fitted above a fireplace.
We didn’t really get a sense of the amenities in the sales office, save for its depiction in the model of the building. However when the condo is complete, it will offer residents a basketball court, soccer pitch, children’s playroom, fitness center, private storage, resident’s lounge, game room and a wine room for private wine tastings.
Sales on the tower’s 48 apartments got underway early last year with prices starting at $3.2 million for a two-bedroom (though the building will feature a mix of studios through triplex residences). All the units haven’t appeared on the market yet, but of the ones currently available prices range from $3.45 million for a two-bedroom, two-bathroom unit, and go up to $6.875 million for a four-bedroom home on the 24th floor of the building. Construction on the project is expected to wrap sometime next year.
Real Estate Weekly
It’s All in the Details at DDG’s 180 East 88th
By: Holly Dutton
At DDG’s condo tower on the Upper East Side, it’s all in the details. That’s the approach developer DDG took when sourcing the materials used in creating 180 East 88th, […]
At DDG’s condo tower on the Upper East Side, it’s all in the details. That’s the approach developer DDG took when sourcing the materials used in creating 180 East 88th, where DDG is not only the developer, but also the designer, contractor and property manager.
The residential building, located on 88th Street between Lexington and Third Avenues, will be the tallest building above 72nd Street once completed.
DDG first launched sales for the building in January of last year, but they recently re-launched sales after the project was sidelined for several months with a stop work order. After re-filing its plans with the city last December, the work order was lifted and construction resumed.
It was so important to DDG Chairman and CEO Joseph A. McMillan, Jr. to show just how high the ceilings will be in the residences at the new luxury building, that he and his team looked at between 30 and 40 retail spaces before finding the right space for the sales gallery, located about 24 blocks south of 180 East 88th.
The vision for the building was inspired by classic elements of Upper East Side architecture, married with modern, European-style design.
“When we thought of the Upper East Side, we thought of traditional Manhattan, it’s a very longstanding neighborhood, extremely traditional, a lot of masonry, and we felt that a masonry building was the most appropriate for the area,” said McMillan. “We thought something that was too modern, that had too much of a glass component, was not appropriate for the neighborhood.”
The 48 units will ha
ve ceiling heights of up to 14 feet, and up to 28 feet for duplex units. Units will range from studio lofts to two and three bedroom homes, to full-floor and triplex units. Wood floors are imported from a Benedectine monastery in Austria, and the bricks used in the facade are handmade from Petersen Tegl in Denmark.
In the units, lobby, and facade, the design is inspired by cathedrals of Europe, with swooping, Gaudi-esque arches within the residences.
“All of our buildings have a thread,” said McMillan. “You’ll see consistent details from the outside all the way to the inside.”
It was important to the team to not have a facade that was totally different from the aesthetic on the inside of the building.
“Here, every space is different, and it’s a sequencing, a peeling of the layers, where you get to transition from one to another, but it has a natural organic flow to it,” he said.
McMillan and his team spent a lot of time in Europe sourcing the materials used in making the building, including visiting the brick factory in Denmark where each of the building’s roughly 594,000 handmade bricks are made. It’s the same brickmaker DDG used on its Meatpacking District building, 345 W. 14th Street, a building DDG completed in 2013.
“We really love these bricks because they are made by hand, so the coloring and shape is slightly different on every brick,” said McMillan. “We really view this as bringing a little bit of downtown uptown, using a very modern brick, although it’s being made in the same way it’s been made for hundreds and hundreds of years in Europe.”
The design team wanted to use a distinctive brick that was also deferential to the architectural history of the neighborhood.
The team also spent time in Italy, where they sourced the nine-foot windows for the building, at the Albertini factory, as well as the Fantini factory, where they sourced hardware for the residences.
Art plays a role in the building, including the lobby’s curved wall installation by German plaster artist Jan Hooss, a nod to the plaster and stucco that was a fixture in Upper East Side buildings at the turn of the 20th century.
And just blocks away from the building are some of the city’s best art museums, including the Guggenheim and the Met.
The attention to detail wasn’t spared for the building’s amenities either. Spread across eight floors, they will include a basketball court, soccer pitch, fitness center, resident’s lounge, game room, private storage and wine room. DDG partnered with the Children’s Museum of the Arts in designing an interactive playroom for the building’s residents.
“The amenities in the building are fantastic, as are the amenities surrounding it,” said McMillan.
Corcoran Sunshine is heading up sales at the building, and while they haven’t released sales numbers yet, they said the response has been very good and prospective buyers see it as unique.
DDG first acquired the building at the end of 2013, for $70 million. Now, the firm is expecting construction of the 48-unit condo to be complete sometime in 2018, with prices starting around $3.2 million and going up to $16.7 million. The penthouse unit has not been listed, but they expect it to be priced around $28 million.
DDG’s 180 East 88th Official Sales Gallery Unveiling
DDG celebrated the official unveiling of the 180 East 88th Sales Gallery, designed in collaboration with luxury American furniture company BDDW. […]
DDG celebrated the official unveiling of the 180 East 88th Sales Gallery, designed in collaboration with luxury American furniture company BDDW. Hosted by DDG CEO and Chairman Joseph A. McMillan, Jr., guests at the broker event included Corcoran CEO and President Pamela Liebman, Halstead Property Chairman and CEO Diane M. Ramirez, Fox Residential Sales Agent Marcia Roma and Stribling Sales Agent Inez Wade. In addition to feasting on food and cocktails by Sant Ambroeus, attendees had the opportunity to fully experience the sales gallery, taking in the custom art installation by master German plaster artisan Jan Hooss as well as the striking diorama created by celebrated diorama artists Stephen Quinn, George Dante and Sean Murtha. Both artworks will be displayed in 180 East 88th when the building is complete. Situated in the coveted Carnegie Hill neighborhood on the Upper East Side, 180 East 88th is a striking condominium being developed, designed, constructed and property managed by national firm DDG. Inspired by the pre-war boom in high-rise masonry construction in New York during the 1920s – 1940s, its facade will feature handmade bricks from Petersen Tegl in Denmark. It will feature 48 expansive residences with ceiling heights stretching to over 14 feet and unparalleled views extending far beyond Central Park.
13 Luxurious Condo Fireplaces That Warm the Heart
By: Keith Flamer
In high-end condos, the hot amenity is chic fireside communal spaces. And residents are getting fired up. […]
In high-end condos, the hot amenity is chic fireside communal spaces. And residents are getting fired up. Cozy is king in the frigid North where soothing fireplaces can redeem a day of Siberian frost—with or without marshmallows. Luxury developers are furnishing projects with ambient, flame-entrancing public spaces (lounges, lobbies and rooftops) where residents can read, drink, socialize or just chill—figuratively. As winter kicks in, here are 13 toasty fireside escapes from the polar vortex—each architecturally unique from traditional to modern, formal to informal, rooftop to cellar.
Projects include: 30 Park Place, 20 East End Avenue, 180 East 88th, One Dalton, Flair Tower, Oosten, Austin Nichols House, Sono East, 135 West 52nd Street, One Manhattan Square, 555Ten, Citizen 360 and AKA Sutton Place.
180 East 88th
In the coveted Upper East Side enclave of Carnegie Hill, this 48-residence luxury condominium (designed, developed, built and managed by DDG) transformed a potentially cold sitting area into a warm, intriguing communal space aided by a roaring fireplace and extraordinary vaulted cathedral ceilings. The space includes an enigmatic plaster wall installation (above the fireplace) by master German plaster artisan Jan Hooss, whose work is also featured in Provence, France’s Château Miraval—Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie’s one-time 1,200-acre estate.
Out of the Bluestone
DDG shows us their latest intricate work of art made out of the Bluestone fresh from Hancock, New York. […]
DDG shows us their latest intricate work of art made out of the Bluestone fresh from Hancock, New York.
We stood in front of the currently under-construction 12 Warren Street Residences, and it absolutely blew us away! The 12-story bluestone façade is imbued with the unpredictable beauty of nature. In contrast to much of the architectural landscape of New York, the asymmetrical stacked blue-hued brick beckons the eye to inspect closer. The effort might suggest materials from an exotic foreign land, painstakingly hauled from across many plains, and finally placed between two practiced locals.
While the stone may not come from a faraway land, the exterior did take a lot of effort to complete. “It’s all hand cut. No two pieces are the same,” said Joseph A. McMillan, Jr., CEO and Chairman of DDG. These unique pieces to which he’s referring were all cut out of Tomkins Bluestone Quarry in Hancock, New York, assembled on the ground in a paint-by-numbers-type scheme, and transported to the site where they were artfully reassembled.
“This has never been done in our city,” said McMillan confidently. DDG is not interested in repeating themselves or anything else that has been erected before. It’s wonderful then, that this uniquely designed structure has bloomed out of the desire to create something new and ambitious.
We’ve seen this ambition from DDG before. Be it at 180 East 88th Street, which looks pleasantly non-indigenous when compared to its habitat, or XOCO 325, which has an eternal shell resembling a very orderly mesh of glass placed behind a skeletal frame, DDG continues to revolutionize the New York scene.
Speaking of XOCO 325, we learned that the repurposed building once functioned as a chocolate factory, hence the Catalan “xoco” for chocolate. The name is pronounced the way the French pronounce “choco,” which is with a “sh” sound at the beginning. McMillan shared that, “if you go to the building, you’ll actually get a chocolate bar.” We were tempted to test this claim, if only because we’d enjoy visualizing ourselves cooking up a storm on one of the unique rounded kitchen islands the condos boast.
If XOCO 325 would greet you with a chocolate bar, we imagine 12 Warren to perhaps offer us the chance to build our own little bluestone sculpture of which we could take a polaroid to bring home. The idea is not too far off from the actual art you’ll find in the property. Coming from the mind of Jacqueline Hassink are a series of photographs inspired by the quarry and its natural surroundings. The art tells a story, giving would-be residents the notion of being a part of something more than just a building. Photographs show the innate beauty that both inspired and became a part of the 13-unit building.
But there’s more to 12 Warren than bluestone. To find lumber for the flooring, DDG traveled to a forest in Austria that is managed by monks. “We find it incredibly beautiful,” McMillan said of the oak, “and besides the wonderful color, it’s completely sustainable.” We might not have found any photos of the Austrian town, but that did not stop us from conjuring images of men in long robes carefully planting saplings in tall, green woods. While the portrait itself is alluring, the white oak also comes highly regarded by the current market.
Besides Austria, DDG favors Italy for its top-quality glass. The condominiums then benefit not only from a dual heating system, but also from great insulation. The windows are framed with a metal finish on the outside, and a wood finish on the inside to involve a feeling of warmth.
So, who is going to be looking to call 12 Warren their home? Considering the homes on offer will have three to four bedrooms, it’s safe to assume that buyers will be those who appreciate having a lot of space. “It’s rare that you find new construction that can offer a full floor,” McMillan reminded. And for the price of $3.3 million, you too could find yourself in the TriBeCa domicile.
While always shooting to provide something that doesn’t already exist, like the unrivaled 28’-8” duplex ceilings at 180 East 88th Street, it’s not to say there aren’t some common threads among the works of DDG. In addition to accentuated design and a focus on sustainability, there’s a consistent emphasis on art. “If you combine art with real estate, it becomes very experiential.” We’d have to agree.
Forget the Loft: The Newest Trend in Luxury Real Estate is Walls
By: Mark Ellwood
High-end art collectors are affecting the way developers build new condos — from wall space, to humidity systems, to the size of the freight elevators. […]
High-end art collectors are affecting the way developers build new condos — from wall space, to humidity systems, to the size of the freight elevators.
For Wendy Maitland, Town Residential’s president of sales, an Oscar-winning director client of hers was a typical real estate shopper with typical requests.
He had a seven-figure budget and was keen to buy into one of the many new luxury condo complexes sprouting around Manhattan. The client was downsizing from a huge country house in Connecticut since his children were grown, and he planned to use a new perch in Manhattan as his primary residence. So Maitland showed him multiple locations until they whittled his choice down to two: one a luxe development on the Upper East Side, the other a new building downtown, in SoHo. The clincher for her client was a second opinion from someone he trusted — but it wasn’t his life partner, an interior decorator, or even a feng shui master. It was his art consultant.
“We sent her CAD drawings, and she went to [the house in] Connecticut to inventory and measure everything. She checked the ceiling heights, the volume, and the wall space,” explains Maitland by phone from her office in New York City, “Every space in the apartment had to be approved by the art consultant.”
It wasn’t a request that fazed Wendy — in fact, she wasn’t even surprised. It’s becoming increasingly essential in new luxury developments to engineer them expressly as art-friendly spaces. The new rule in this art-loving world can be summed up simply: more walls, fewer windows.
Ian Schrager has adopted a new phrase on blueprints for his latest project, 160 Leroy: Plentiful numbers of blank walls are tagged as so-called art walls. “These are walls large enough and with high ceilings that can accommodate the large paintings of modern art, as well as art from other periods,” he told Bloomberg via e-mail, “It also allows for a visually prominent display with appropriate lighting.”
Developer Joseph A. McMillan, Jr. of DDG has embraced the term, too. “Every grand room now needs at least one art wall,” he says by phone from his Manhattan office. At his new retro-styled building, 180 East 88th, McMillan has gone even further, inverting the rule that new buildings should emphasize light to the exclusion of everything else.
“We spaced the windows, which are 9 feet by 9 feet, far apart enough from each other so you have large expanses of white wall between them, discrete spaces to hang your art. There’s a window acting as a picture frame on the city, a large expansive white space where you can hang some art, and then another window.” Koons and other artists, it seems, are now just as important as a view of the Chrysler Building.
Increasingly, interior walls are not only more plentiful; they’re designed much like those of a museum or gallery. At 180 East 88th, McMillan has installed a picture rail system similar to that used at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. “No one likes having holes punched in their walls, and for an art-centric buyer, this allows you to minimize that. It enables you to rotate pieces easily, even if they’re not the same size.”
A similar throwbackish touch is incorporated into the Marquand, a lavish conversion of an early 20th-century apartment block. In these apartments, designer Lee Mindel created long hallways — again, extra walls — to act as interior galleries, safe from the sun and with molding that acts as a picture rail.
At 551 West 21st Street, which sits at the heart of Chelsea’s gallery district, the Norman Foster-designed apartments feature custom glass with a built-in UV screen that filters out 90 percent of rays — not to protect skin, but to safeguard any art on display inside.
For the same reason, humidifiers are a new amenity added as an art-friendly touch. In Tadao Ando’s upcoming project in Nolita, 152 Elizabeth Street, commercial-grade humidity systems were installed so that a constant moisture point can easily be maintained around fragile artwork in any of the homes. And builders Alfa Development — which has built a reputation for eco-friendly projects — has also begun courting the art market. Instead of using basic plaster to finish new developments, it now offers drywall reinforced by plywood — the same system used at most galleries, since it’s stronger and requires less maintenance when hanging art.
Even service elevators are now being enlarged so that they can be used to transport bulky artworks easily into an apartment. Roy Kim, creative director of Douglas Elliman, cites how Rafal Viñoly engineered the super-skyscraper 432 Park Avenue. “It was designed, very intentionally, with an oversize elevator at its core expressly for the move-ins of large items of art,” he says by phone from his Manhattan office.
This emphasis on prepackaging buildings as art friendly, whether by adding more walls or expanding the elevator, is a concrete manifestation of the close relationship between art collecting and real estate. Of course, there’s an element of smart marketing, too: Art world affiliation offers built-in cachet, while such thoughtful amenities as a simple picture rail can act as sweeteners to help justify skyrocketing prices in New York — 10 years ago, Elliman’s Kim says, the “entry point for luxury in 2006 was $1,200 per sq. ft. and has now jumped to $3,000.” Perhaps the most compelling factor behind this trend, though, is that many major developers are also powerful art collectors themselves. Aby Rosen might be the best known, but Steve Witkoff, Edward Minkskoff, and even Ian Schrager are art world aficionados too.
As for Wendy Maitland’s buyer, the Oscar-winning director did finally make a decision between those two newly built apartments — one on the Upper East Side, the other in SoHo. He chose the downtown space after his art consultant pointed out the larger freight elevator and museum-like ceiling heights there, as well as the reinforced floors. There was one piece in particular, she knew, that would need to be drilled into the wall and the floor for display. “The neighborhood was less essential than the wall space for art, and the ability to exhibit his art collection,” Maitland marvels, “That’s a big statement.”
The Real Deal
A Home, A Museum: Developers Tailor New Luxury Pads for Art
By: Dusica Sue Malesevic
Forget location. Forget windows. What buyers really want in luxury real estate is walls — lots of them — and developers are eager to oblige. […]
Forget location. Forget windows. What buyers really want in luxury real estate is walls — lots of them — and developers are eager to oblige.
Developers are now tailoring high-end projects for customers who want to display their costly Koons and pricey Picassos, and need certain features to accommodate and flaunt their art.
At Ian Schrager’s 160 Leroy Street 50-unit condo project in the West Village, blank walls are dubbed art walls, Bloomberg reported.
“These are walls large enough and with high ceilings that can accommodate the large paintings of modern art, as well as art from other periods,” Schrager told Bloomberg via e-mail, “It also allows for a visually prominent display with appropriate lighting.”
Joseph A. McMillan, Jr., CEO and Chairman of DDG, told Bloomberg, “Every grand room now needs at least one art wall.” Condos at his 50-story tower at 180 East 88th Street will make putting up paintings a snap as walls feature a picture rail system similar to the one the Met uses.
At SR Capital’s 20-story, 44-unit building at 551 West 21st Street on the High Line, the condos feature a custom glass that filters out the sun’s rays to safeguard art that’s displayed, Bloomberg reported.
Temperature is also a concern with some buildings, like 152 Elizabeth Street, designed by Tadao Ando, featuring commercial-grade humidity systems to protect fragile works. Then there’s getting the masterpieces to the apartment itself — developers are ensuring service elevators are large enough to take big pieces up.
Luxury has changed in the past 10 years as an increasing number of developers double as art collectors and the two worlds — art and real estate —become intertwined. In 2006, the entry point for luxury was $1,200 per square foot. It is now $3,000, according to Roy Kim of Douglas Elliman.
Residences at NYC’s Tallest Skyscraper Above 72nd Are Now for Sale
By: Kai Acevedo
Sales for the luxury residences at 180 East 88th Street in New York City have launched! Set to feature 50 stories, the 521-foot structure, projected to be the tallest building […]
Sales for the luxury residences at 180 East 88th Street in New York City have launched! Set to feature 50 stories, the 521-foot structure, projected to be the tallest building north of 72nd Street, will boast 48 spacious private residences. The luxury apartments, which will range from loft, full-floor, and duplex units featuring between two and five bedrooms, will have wood flooring, high ceilings, and large windows, as well as master bathrooms that are “lavishly outfitted” with the finest fixtures and kitchens by Molteni&C Dada with marble slab countertops, white lacquer cabinetry, stone and white oak island front kitchen islands, and state-of-the-art appliances. Prices for units begin at $3.2 million.
The building will offer access to not only luxury and privacy but also an art installation by German plaster artisan Jan Hooss, private fitness and yoga studios, an interactive children’s playroom which will be a partnership with the Children’s Museum of the Arts, a wine room, a partial basketball court, and several other amazing amenities.
180 East 88th, a collaboration between DDG and Global Holdings, will be marketed and have sales handled by Corcoran Sunshine Marketing Group.
“Global Holdings takes pride in creating buildings that the world falls in love with,” says Global Holdings’ chairman Eyal Ofer. “The vision here was to bring a downtown sensibility to an uptown audience, and we look forward to watching 180 East 88th become an iconic residence on the Upper East Side.”
Construction on 180 East 88th is scheduled to be completed sometime in 2018. More information on the luxury high-rise can be found by visiting the website, 180e88.com.
Wall Street Journal
The Most Extreme High-Rise Condos on the Market Including DDG’s 180 East 88th
By: Nancy Keates
With scores of tall buildings going up, it can take a lot to stand out: A look at the contenders in New York, Miami, Chicago and Los Angeles. […]
With scores of tall buildings going up, it can take a lot to stand out: A look at the contenders in New York, Miami, Chicago and Los Angeles.
Included with the purchase of this Manhattan condo: a $1 million-dollar yacht, two Rolls-Royce Phantoms and $2 million in credits to renovate the unit. A sweet deal, but hardly a dent in the condo’s asking price of $85 million.
“People spending this much money can afford to buy their own yacht and Rolls-Royce,” says Dan Neiditch, the real-estate agent who has the listing. But the extras “show the lifestyle we want to present here.” The 10-bedroom, 13-bathroom apartment on the 45th floor of midtown building Atelier has had about 12 offers in the $50 million range over the past year — not quite high enough, says Mr. Neiditch. With scores of super-tall, glassy buildings popping up in cities across the country, it can take a lot of superlatives to distinguish one from another. So developers and marketers are getting creative to stand out in the high-rise market. Drone landing pad? Check. Complimentary dog walking? Sure. Biometric elevator access? Done.
To cut through the hyperbole, Mansion set out to find the tallest, biggest, priciest and otherwise mostest high-rise apartments on the market in four major cities. We used data and information from real estate websites PropertyShark and Realtor.com. (News Corp., which owns The Wall Street Journal, also owns Realtor.com, the listing website of the National Association of Realtors.) In all categories, top residences were chosen based on publicly available listings and data. Here is a bird’s-eye view of some of the country’s most extreme aeries in the sky.
Wildest Amenity: 180 East 88th – Indoor soccer field
Upper East Side building 180 East 88th has eight floors dedicated to play, with a fitness studio, partial basketball court, playroom and residents’ lounge, but the most unusual is its 18’ x 26’ indoor soccer field. In the school-heavy neighborhood a soccer area “made perfect sense,” says Joseph A. McMillan, Jr., Chairman and CEO of developer, designer, builder and manager DDG. On the market for $15.5 million is unit 42 — a four-bedroom, 4,429-square-foot full-floor apartment.
Most Expensive: 635 West 42nd Street (Atelier Building) – $85 million
Best View: 157 West 57th Street (One57) – 360-degree views that take in Central Park, the Hudson and East Rivers and the Statue of Liberty
Highest Floor: 432 Park Avenue – Floor 91
Most Exclusive: 834 5th Avenue – Buyers must get past the co-op board
Most Expensive: 3315 Collins Avenue (Faena House) – $55 million
Best Views: 401 North Wabash Avenue (Trump Tower) – Views to the south, east and west from the 69th floor
Wildest Amenity: 415 East North Water Street – An oak and maple squash court modeled after one Michael Douglas uses in the movie “The Game.”
Most Exclusive: 65 East Goethe Street – When a condo becomes available it is usually bought off-market by someone already in the building who wants to expand, according to Jim Kinney, vice president of luxury home sales for Baird & Warner.
Most Expensive and Largest: 1 West Century Drive (Century City) – 9,318 square feet for $28.95 million
Highest Floor: 701 West Olympic Boulevard (The Ritz-Carlton Residences) – Floor 51
Most Exclusive: 10375 Wilshire Boulevard (Wilshire Terrace in Westwood) – Buyers must pay all cash and pass the formal approval process by the homeowner’s association board, including a background screening, personal reference check and financial statement review. No leasing is allowed.
Wildest Amenity: 1050 South Grand Avenue (Ten50) – Drone landing pad
Units Come Online for 180 East 88th, Tallest Building Between 72nd Street and Albany
By: Ondel Hylton
In spite of a bristling array of glass spires erupting into our man-made mountain range and a global high-rise boom remodeling world cities into alien, cutting-edge […]
In spite of a bristling array of glass spires erupting into our man-made mountain range and a global high-rise boom remodeling world cities into alien, cutting-edge anonymity, Manhattan stubbornly manages to appear tellurian. But Joseph A. McMillan, Jr.’s integrated real estate investment and design company, DDG
has emerged as one firm genuinely committed to nurturing and progressing our architectural zoo of a city. Their past projects – 345meatpacking, 41 Bond, XOCO 325, and 12 Warren – transcend common architectural styles, clad in a unique palette of materials and composed of an uncanny mashup of parts informed by context, nature, and technology.
DDG’s latest exotic specimen comes to the architecturally conservative Upper East Side, at 180 East 88th Street. The 50-story, 521-foot development will not only be the team’s first uptown building, but also their first high-rise. DDG purchased the three-lot parcel from Muss Development for $70 million in 2013, and groundwork earnestly began last spring.
Ultimately, the site will yield a tower for which the team seeks to provide a “fresh perspective on the classic prewar apartment building.” The tower will rise upon a contextually scaled base and will slightly cantilever over its walk-up neighbor.
Its campanile-like profile features two sets of thirty-foot-high catenary arches, first along the sky garden/mechanical floor at the 13th and 14th levels and then again around a spectacular duplex penthouse.
The exterior will be clad in concrete and blueish-gray Kolumba bricks, which were also used throughout the firm’s 345meatpacking project. Other peculiar details include an ivy-covered brass canopy, a herringbone-patterned sheer wall, and a scaled golden-colored rooftop bulkhead.
180 East 88th will grant buyers sweeping 360-degrees views of the city and its craggy skyline. Like its exterior, the building’s 48 unique residences seek to “reinvigorate and re-imagine the pre-war aesthetic” and use a wide-array of materials ranging from wide-plank wood floors, marble-walled kitchens, and brass-hooded stoves. The first two units have recently come online: a third floor, two-bedroom home for $3,215,000 ($1,864 per square foot); and a 20th-floor four-bedroom for $6,600,000 ($2,790 per square foot).
The project will seek LEED certification, and amenities will include an attended lobby, children’s playroom, teen room, bicycle parking, fitness center, sports court, and a wine cellar.
While not significantly taller than surrounding towers, when finished, 180 East 88th will become the highest building between 72nd Street and Albany, besting 1214 Fifth Avenue by three feet. Just to the west, new construction is limited to 210-feet in height and has yielded less than palatable results with developments growing outward rather than upward, engulfing pre-war buildings and often cantilevering over them. Extell’s glassy Lucida condominium demolished more than a dozen walk-up buildings to accommodate the site’s maximum floor area while remaining under the 210-foot height limit.
The Real Deal
Renderings of DDG’s 180 East 88th Project are Here
By: Christopher Cameron
After clustering around 57th Street for the last several years, super-tall condominiums, which are coveted by buyers for their views and scorned by […]
After clustering around 57th Street for the last several years, super-tall condominiums, which are coveted by buyers for their views and scorned by some others for their bulk, are turning up in other neighborhoods.
Fresh renderings of what will soon become one of the tallest towers on the Upper East Side are here.
As The Real Deal previously reported, developer Joseph A. McMillan, Jr.’s luxury condo tower at 180 East 88th Street will be the tallest building north of 72nd Street when it’s completed in 2018. It will rise some 521 feet.
McMillan’s Tribeca-based DDG bought the site from Muss Development in 2013, paying $68 million, or $538 per buildable square foot. Over the summer, the developer broke ground on the project, which will feature 30-foot-high masonry arches and a brick façade imported from Denmark.
Back in November, DDG received the green light from the AG’s office to begin selling apartments. It’s aiming for a total sellout of $308 million, including its storage units.
Apartments range from $3.2 million for a two-bedroom to $6.6 million for a four-bedroom.
New York Times
Taller Condos on the Upper East Side
By: C.J. Hughes
After clustering around 57th Street for the last several years, super-tall condominiums, which are coveted by buyers for their views and scorned by some […]
After clustering around 57th Street for the last several years, super-tall condominiums, which are coveted by buyers for their views and scorned by some others for their bulk, are turning up in other neighborhoods.
Among the latest is 180 East 88th Street, a 48-unit high-rise on the Upper East Side built by DDG and Global Holdings that will stretch to 521 feet. While that elevation is dwarfed by buildings that soar beyond 1,000 feet along the so-called Billionaires’ Row around 57th Street, it is significant in an area where only about three dozen buildings are 400 feet or higher, according to the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, a group that certifies building heights.
“The height is a major selling point, because it offers 360-degree views that are mostly unobstructed,” said Joseph A. McMillan Jr., DDG’s chief executive and chairman. Still, “this was not about building the tallest building we could possibly build,” said Mr. McMillan, adding that zoning at its site at Third Avenue would have permitted a larger tower, possibly by up to 100 more feet. “This is about building the best tower we can build in this location.”
Ignoring the trend toward glassy exteriors, DDG has opted for a facade of Kolumba bricks, which are longer and thinner than the standard ones, and in this case, have a bluish-gray hue. The condo will require 593,987 of them, the developers said.
The lobby is also unusual. Wishbone-shaped arches, inspired by the Spanish architect Antoni Gaudí, swoop from floor to ceiling. Similar arches also ring a “sky garden” on the 14th level. A duplex penthouse at the top of the tower is framed by them as well. Finishes in the apartments, which mostly range from two to four bedrooms, are distinctive. Brass has been liberally used for kitchen faucets, towel racks and even the range hoods, whose long, segmented shapes resemble Japanese lanterns.
Amenities are mostly spread across six contiguous floors, starting at the second floor, which includes a partial basketball court, playrooms for children, and a wine room, where bottles can be stored. No. 180 will have higher-than-average prices for a condo, but does not compete with some of the pricier buildings at the high end. Two-bedrooms start at $3.2 million, three-bedrooms at $4.7 million and four-bedrooms at $6.6 million; average asking prices are $3,000 a square foot, Mr. McMillan said. The Corcoran Sunshine Marketing Group is handling sales at the building, whose sales office is expected to open the week of Jan. 17.
In contrast, the average sale price for new development apartments in Manhattan was $2,142 per square foot in the fourth quarter of 2015, according to the Corcoran Group brokerage. If Midtown residential skyscrapers have sparked controversy, their Upper East Side counterparts seem to have met with less of an outcry so far. Community officials say this may be because most of the planned tall towers are rising at the edges of the neighborhood, whose borders are traditionally considered to run from East 59th to East 96th Streets.
For instance, 520 Park Avenue, which will rise to 781 feet, is at East 60th Street, close to Midtown. And 1214 Fifth Avenue, a rental-office hybrid measuring 513 feet that opened in 2012, is at East 102nd Street, far to the north.
These buildings aren’t the first lofty high-rises in the neighborhood. Trump Palace at 200 East 69th Street, which has been around since the early 1990s, is one of the Upper East Side’s highest. The tall buildings council puts it at 623 feet.
James G. Clynes, the chairman of Manhattan Community Board 8, which represents the area, said he had not received complaints about No. 180, which is not in a historic district and did not require city approvals for its size. But others are sounding the alarm about what might lie ahead, like the Friends of the Upper East Side Historic Districts, an advocacy group that has called for a height limit of 210 feet along neighborhood avenues. “We should do something to preserve our light and air,” Mr. Clynes said, “for those people who don’t live high in the sky.”
DDG’S 521-FOOT UPPER EAST SIDE TOWER REVEALS PRICING, RENDERS
By: Amy Plitt
After clustering around 57th Street for the last several years, super-tall condominiums, which are coveted by buyers for their views […]
After clustering around 57th Street for the last several years, super-tall condominiums, which are coveted by buyers for their views and scorned by some others for their bulk, are turning up in other neighborhoods.
Name: 180 East 88th
Size: 50 floors, 48 units
Prices: Starting from $3.2 million
Sales and Marketing: Corcoran Sunshine Marketing GroupThere’s a mini-development boom happening on the Upper East Side right now, but few new projects have garnered as much attention as DDG’s residential tower at 180 East 88th Street. The 48-unit project, which launched its website today, is notable for its height: At 521 feet high, it’s among the tallest buildings in the neighborhood. And unlike in Midtown, where the views from tall towers may be blocked by…other towers, these vistas are a huge perk: DDG’s chief executive Joseph A. McMillan, Jr. told The New York Times that “The height is a major selling point, because it offers 360-degree views that are mostly unobstructed.” Other selling points: the facade, made from an austere brick; and the lobby, full of sinuous curves and arches, which has a sculptural feel that was apparently inspired by Spanish architect Antoni Gaudí. The building also has plenty of amenities, including a fitness room, partial basketball court, and a wine room. Sales are expected to launch sometime in the next week, and apartments range from $3.2 million for a two-bedroom to $6.6 million for a four-bedroom.
Wall Street Journal
Construction Loan Set for DDG Condo Tower
By: Emily Nonko
The development team of DDG and Global Holdings has closed on a $153 million construction loan for a 50-story condominium tower […]
The development team of DDG and Global Holdings has closed on a $153 million construction loan for a 50-story condominium tower under construction on the Upper East Side.
The loan, provided by M&T Bank and Union Bank, completes construction financing for the $310 million building at 180 East 88th Street, according to Joseph A. McMillan, Jr., DDG’s CEO and Chairman. “To date, we’ve funded construction largely with cash, and now our full capital structure is complete,” he said.
Mr. McMillan said the 521-foot building will be the tallest residential tower north of 72nd Street on the Upper East Side. “Roughly half of the apartments will come with Central Park views, which is rare for new development in the area,” he said.
Foundation work is expected to be completed in February and construction is expected to wrap up in 2018, he said. A mix of two-bedroom to four-bedroom apartments will be priced from $3 million to $30 million.
Mr. McMillan noted the construction financing market has tightened, with “a reversion back to quality,” he said. “Developments without strong sponsorships are not easily securing loans,” he said.
DDG has closed more than 10 loans with M&T Bank, according to Mr. McMillan.
DDG Gets $153M Construction Loan For Carnegie Hill Residential Tower
By: Danielle Balbi
M&T Bank provided Joseph A. McMillan, Jr.’s DDG and real estate investment firm Global Holdings with a $153 million loan on a residential development in Carnegie Hill […]
M&T Bank provided Joseph A. McMillan, Jr.’s DDG and real estate investment firm Global Holdings with a $153 million loan on a residential development in Carnegie Hill, Commercial Observer can first report.
Proceeds of the financing, which closed on Dec. 21, will be used to construct a 50-story condominium tower at 180 East 88th Street between Third and Lexington Avenues.
The latest filings with the New York City Department of Buildings indicate that the tower will house 48 condo units, and the reported sellout estimate for the project is $308 million.
Mr. McMillan’s Tribeca-based development firm acquired the site, along with 1558-1560 Third Avenue between East 87th and East 88th Streets, from Muss Development for roughly $70 million in 2013, as Commercial Observer previously reported. The parcels, which have connecting rear lots, housed two vacant five-story apartment buildings, which have since been razed. (It was not immediately clear when Global Holdings joined DDG as a partner).
M&T provided the borrower with a $47.5 million acquisition loan in December 2013, according to city records.
Representatives for DDG and Global Holdings did not immediately respond to requests for comment. A representative for M&T declined to comment.
The Real Deal
Can You Say UES Building Boom?
By: E.B. Solomont
For years, the promise of a Second Avenue subway line has tantalized residential developers who have been hungrily eying the stretch of the Upper East Side between […]
For years, the promise of a Second Avenue subway line has tantalized residential developers who have been hungrily eying the stretch of the Upper East Side between Third Avenue and the East River.
With the first phase of the new line — which will run between 63rd and 96th streets — set to open in late 2016, a wave of new condos are being constructed.
In all, there are close to 900 condo units being developed across 19 projects on the Upper East Side between 59th and 96th streets, according to Halstead Property Development Marketing.
Some of the developments are the result of large and complicated assemblages; others are large-scale conversions of the neighborhood’s ample rental stock.
“There’s going to be tremendous growth in this neighborhood over the next 10 years,” said developer Ben Shaoul, whose firm Magnum Real Estate is converting 389 East 89th Street into condos.
Barbara van Beuren, managing director of development firm Anbau, said that when her company was evaluating development sites two years ago, it saw a void in the Manhattan condo market for units priced under $3,000 per square foot.
“Other people were overlooking the neighborhood,” said van Beuren, whose firm is developing a condo on East 89th Street. “Now it’s obviously a different story.”
Shaoul said the area’s high-density zoning is a big draw for developers. In addition, he noted that low retail rents — $300 to $400 per square foot in some locations — is driving development.
“Retail has been low because the area wasn’t developed,” he said, noting that the additional transportation is the spark developers needed.
On top of that, buyers have always been enticed by the throwback feel of the neighborhood.
“This is a real Manhattan neighborhood that hasn’t been infiltrated by commercial tenants yet,” Shaoul said. “There’s still a grocer, a butcher. There’s a Starbucks, of course, but [the neighborhood] is still very mom-and-pop.”
Families, in particular, have long been drawn to the Upper East Side because of its high concentration of private schools like Dalton, Spence, and Chapin, as well as popular public schools such as P.S. 6, P.S. 290 and P.S. 158.
Some of the big projects in the works in the neighborhood include 205 East 92nd Street, 360 East 89th Street, 1562 Second Avenue, 1059 Third Avenue, 180 East 88th, 389 East 89th Street and 20 East End Avenue.
180 East 88th
The Real Deal
AG Approves DDG’s $308M Condo Plan at 180 East 88th Street
By: Rich Bockmann
DDG received the green light to begin selling apartments at its Upper East Side condo tower, which will aim for a total sellout of slightly more than $308 million. […]
DDG received the green light to begin selling apartments at its Upper East Side condo tower, which will aim for a total sellout of slightly more than $308 million.
Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s office last month approved the Tribeca-based development firm’s condo offering plan for its under-construction tower, 180 East 88th.
DDG is aiming for a total sellout of $308.2 million, a figure that also includes storage space in the building. Construction kicked off earlier this summer on the 521-foot tall tower, which will feature 30-foot-high masonry arches and a brick façade imported from Denmark.
Along with the Zeckendorfs’ 520 Park Avenue, DDG’s building will be one of the tallest on the Upper East Side. The development firm paid $68 million, or $538 per buildable square foot, when it bought the site in 2013, making it one of the riskier development deals out there.
DDG is also behind XOCO 325, a ten-story condo building at 325 West Broadway in Soho. It has four listings on the market, ranging from $2.6 million to $7.6 million.
New York Times
Bricklaying, a Nearly Lost Art, Makes a Comeback in Luxury Buildings
By: Matt A. V. Chaban
A neat little row of bricks and stone blocks sits on a worktable inside the TriBeCa offices of the development, design and construction firm DDG. Some are classic red, others ivory […]
A neat little row of bricks and stone blocks sits on a worktable inside the TriBeCa offices of the development, design and construction firm DDG. Some are classic red, others ivory white, a few resemble smoke, a ghost of their birth in the kiln.
“Each brick has a fingerprint,” said Joseph A. McMillan, Jr., chief executive and chairman of the six-year-old firm.
He was not being poetic, at least not entirely. On the top of each 21-inch brick is a pair of thumb prints, a reminder that each one was pressed from a wooden mold by an actual person in Broager, a small seaside town in Denmark where the bricks have been made in this fashion by the Petersen brick company since 1791.
“The crazy thing is, no one is ever even going to see that print once it’s been set,” Mr. McMillan said. “But just knowing they are there, it gives you a sense of how much care went into each brick.”
And by hand-laying those bricks — a nearly lost art — DDG hopes to show how much care goes into each of its buildings.
With everything growing slick, streamlined and interconnected the past few decades, both in construction and life, DDG’s zeal for mortared joints happened almost by coincidence, more through a bond with craft than a love of bricks. Yet the attraction has been just as strong for luxury buyers who want everything in life to be tailored.
Whether a boutique TriBeCa loft building that looks as if it pushed its way out of the earth or a 521-foot tower with nearly 600,000 hand-laid bricks on the Upper East Side, DDG has a way with mortar that is at once contemporary and recalls the earliest days of cities, which masonry made possible.
“I think we’re finally over the stripped-down modernist boxes, and we’re searching for something with more intrinsic values,” Peter Guthrie, DDG’s head of design and construction, said. (Unlike most developers, the firm does both, part of the reason its work can be so exacting.)
He and Mr. McMillan could spend hours talking about bricks, discussing and dissecting them the way some people do wine or literature. The patina, the heft, the hue, the character, even the philosophy of construction are popular topics around the office.
This may sound strange, but it is doubly so given how most brick buildings are assembled these days, whether a four-story townhouse or a 40-story tower.
After the great fire of 1835, New York mandated that all buildings be made from noncombustible materials. Suddenly the clay-lined shores of the Hudson Valley became a gold mine. “It became one of the greatest brick industries known to man, almost all of it feeding the growth of New York,” said Richard Pieper, director of preservation at Jan Hird Pokorny Associates, an architecture firm specializing in historic restoration work.
For more than a century, there was an explosion of red brick, brownstone, terra cotta and limestone construction around the region. Even once skyscrapers started rising on their iron and steel frames, bricks played an important role — the Empire State Building, though clad in stone, has more than 10 million bricks invisibly lining its structure as fireproofing.
After World War II, companies like Alcoa and U.S. Steel looked for ways to put their factories to use building things other than tanks and planes, which spurred aluminum panels and glass curtain walls. Yet New York resisted the modernist urge for some time, at least for residential buildings.
After all, the great prewar architects Rosario Candela, J.E.R. Carpenter and Emery Roth had divined the concept of the apartment house, ushering in high-rise living with their great piles of limestone and brick lining Central Park and Park Avenue. The midcentury mode was seen in the white brick behemoth of Manhattan House on East 66th Street and its myriad imitators. But then Richard Meier’s glass towers on Perry Street seemed to change that forever.
“It just took over in the 2000s,” Carol Willis, director of the Skyscraper Museum, said of the boom in crystalline construction. “Somehow glass came to symbolize luxury and first-class construction, even if that wasn’t always the case.”
Even when developers still use bricks, they have all but abandoned bricklaying in favor of what is known as “panelization.” Inside factories across the Midwest and China, bricks or stone blocks are arranged into panels many feet or stories in dimension. They are then shipped to the site and hoisted into place, often exposing seams. Panels are even used in modern masonry marvels like 15 Central Park West.
Into this void stepped DDG in 2009. The firm’s first project was 41 Bond, on the blockbuster block of NoHo already home to the work of Herzog & de Meuron, Deborah Berke and BKSK.
Given the neighborhood’s fabric of cobblestones and Romanesque Revival loft buildings — and the fact that it was a landmark district — the firm decided that a hand-laid facade would be most fitting. Rather than brick, though, they settled on slender, undulating bluestone blocks. A local material more common in Brooklyn sidewalks, here it got a modern treatment with deeply grooved window frames. (As with all their projects, the masonry is not structural, but merely decorative, and largely made possible by the firm employing its own masons.)
Two years later, the firm turned to the Danish bricks for 345meatpacking, an 11-story project on 14th Street just off Ninth Avenue, on the border of the Meatpacking District. The zippered corners and mottled coloration of the white bricks could have been achieved with panels, but it would have shown not only on the outside, but also within, given the deeply recessed windows. It is for that same reason DDG will lay all those bricks at 180 East 88th on the Upper East Side, at the corner of Third Avenue and 88th Street — 593,989 to be exact, by Mr. McMillan’s calculation.
“We considered doing panels after the first hundred feet or so, because you’d think you couldn’t tell,” he said. “But you know where you could? From inside the apartments.”
At 100 Franklin, a newly proposed project on Franklin Street in TriBeCa, DDG tried to branch out with a mostly glass facade with brick accents. The property is in a historic district, though, and the community board was emphatic, so back came the bricks, though again with modern flourishes, in this case subtle perforations in the pattern.
At 12 Warren, a 13-unit development that is the firm’s latest, the designers turned again to bluestone. No two blocks are the same, and while most are a foot or two long, some are the size of small boulders and weigh many tons. All the pieces were pre-arranged in a yard, tagged, and then put into place in the city.
Passers-by could be forgiven for thinking they had always been there.
New York Post
NYC’s 33 Buzziest New Buildings
By: Zachary Kussin
If there’s ever been a time start your house hunt and lock down the perfect pad, it’s right now. From Midtown to Midwood, Boerum Hill to Bed-Stuy and Long Island City […]
If there’s ever been a time start your house hunt and lock down the perfect pad, it’s right now. From Midtown to Midwood, Boerum Hill to Bed-Stuy and Long Island City to Jersey City, there’s a gaggle of new residential projects coming to market this fall. Some are new development, while others are conversions. But all add to a massive rush of new opportunities for homebuyers citywide.
“We estimate that, in 2015, about 7,000 units are entering the market, and probably a similar, but lesser amount next year,” says property appraisal maven Jonathan Miller, though he adds this volume is still below the city’s 2004-to-2007 peak. “What you’re seeing took several years of planning … it’s at critical mass now. You’re seeing a ramp-up of product.”
And speaking of product it’s quite diverse: There will be everything from a super-tall Billionaires’ Row tower on 57th Street to a boutique synagogue-to-condo conversion in the East Village. Some projects are crafted by award-winning architects; others masterminded by up-and-comers.
Projects include 111 West 57th Street, 100 East 53rd Street, 118 East 59th Street, The Bryant, XOCO 325, 520 West 28th Street, Gramercy Square, 520 Park Avenue, 212 Fifth Avenue, The Fitzroy, 280 Saint Marks Avenue, 77 Condominiums, 415 East 6th Street, 1 Great Jones Alley, 52 Wooster, Citizen360, 465 Pacific Street, 55 West 17th Street, 275 West 10th Street, 180 East 88th Street, The Sorting House, 30 Warren, Thirteen East + West, The Gibraltar, 40 Somers Street, 19 Park Place, The Lighthouse Condos, Navy Green, State + Bond, The Residences at Prince, Flushing Commons, The Dutch and The Oakman.
To be sure, New York real estate is so hot that prices are high, but that also means developers are doing everything they can to build, build, build so that there are enough apartments to go around at every price point.
180 East 88th Street
Meanwhile, DDG has another project in the works on the Upper East Side.
It’s developing, designing and building 180 East 88th Street — a 50-story condo project with 48 plush pads. Reports say it’ll be the tallest Upper East Side tower north of 72nd Street.
The exterior, which will have 30-foot-high masonry arches on its top floors, will feature hand-crafted brick imported from Denmark.
Two-bedroom homes will start around $3.4 million, three-beds will start around $4.5 million and four-bedrooms will list for roughly $7 million when sales launch this fall.
New York Magazine
New New New
By: S. Jhoanna Robledo
The scaffolding doesn’t lie: We’re in the midst of a serious condo-and-rental-building boom with buildings like DDG’s 180 East 88th Street and 12 Warren Street quickly rising. […]
The scaffolding doesn’t lie: We’re in the midst of a serious condo-and-rental-building boom with buildings like DDG’s 180 East 88th Street and 12 Warren Street quickly rising. Over 3,600 permits have been filed for new residential structures in the past two years – to be precise, 2,394 in 2014 and 1,230 thus far this year, compared with 2,804 in total for 2009 and 2010. Talk of the 421(a) tax abatement expiring this past summer (it didn’t) may have spurred the recent frenzy, with much of it concentrated in the usual suspects of Hudson Yards, Downtown Brooklyn, and LIC. But new pockets of construction are emerging in unlikely corners, like the St. George neighborhood of Staten Island and the South Bronx. With an overwhelming number of projects to sift through, here’s a selection of some of the more notable arrivals, for magnates and non-magnates alike.
Rising properties include 550 Vanderbilt Avenue, 111 Murray Street, 40-26 College Point Boulevard, 180 East 88th Street, 111 West 57th Street, 538 Washington Avenue, 12 Warren Street, 34 Prince Street, 1769 East 13th Street, 360 Central Park West, 101 Wall Street, 212 Fifth Avenue, 318 West 57th Street, 275 West 10th Street, 70 Charlton Street, 16 West 40th Street, 100 East 53rd Street, 118 East 59th Street, 527 West 27th Street, 520 West 28th Street, 360 East 89th Street, 170 Amsterdam Avenue, 535 Carlton Avenue, 625 West 57th Street and 480 Main Street.
180 East 88th Street
On the market: Fall. This will be the tallest building above 72nd Street once it opens. Many of the 48 apartments will have 16-foot-high ceilings, a feature rarely seen in residential towers.
The 45+ New NYC Developments Hitting the Market this Fall Including Three by DDG
By: Curbed Staff
Now that Labor Day is a thing of the past and the dog days of summer are (theoretically) waning away, it’s time to welcome fall the best way we know how: by mapping the […]
Now that Labor Day is a thing of the past and the dog days of summer are (theoretically) waning away, it’s time to welcome fall the best way we know how: by mapping the
hundreds of new apartments — both condos and rentals — that will inundate the real estate market in the coming months.
From under-the-radar projects like 180 East 88th Street by DDG and The Giovanni by John Catsimatidis, to front-and-center developments like 111 West 57th Street and The Fitzroy, there’s no denying that it’ll be a busy fall. And if there’s a project we missed, the tipline is always open.
Projects to keep on your radar include 111 West 57th Street, One Seaport, Jardim, 465 Pacific Street, 280 Saint Marks Avenue, King & Sullivan Townhomes, 52 Wooster, Carmel Place, 520 West 28th Street, Gramercy Square, 393 West End Avenue, One Hundred East Fifty Third Street, 515 High Line, One Sixty Madison, XOCO 325, Prince, The Fitzroy, 22-22 Jackson Avenue, The Enclave at the Cathedral, 535W43, The Sorting House, 30 Warren Street, 212 Fifth Avenue, City Tower, 8 Vanderbilt Avenue, 118 East 59th Street, The Greenstone, 180 East 88th Street, The Bryant, 559 West 23rd Street, 12 Warren, 221 West 77th Street, 1 Great Jones Alley, 55 West 17th Street, The Giovanni, The Grand Two, The Lighthouse, 39 Madison Street, 223 Pulaski Street, Jones LES, The Grove, AKA Sutton Place, Aperture 538, 41-07 Crescent Avenue, 2225 Adam Clayton Powell BLVD, 350 Degraw Street and 40 Somers Street.
The chocolate-, Catalan-, and comic book-themed XOCO 325 (former chocolate factory, Catalan name, comic book website) is a building that has been in the works for a long time, but developer, designer, builder and property manager DDG took over in 2012 and finally got things moving along. The building will feature 21 condos, ranging in size from 1,055 to 4,837 square feet, and many will have balconies or private terraces.
180 East 88th Street
Soon to be the tallest building north of 72nd Street, 180 East 88th Street is yet another DDG development launching this fall (these guys are busy!). It will feature 48 condos with 16-foot ceilings, and the building will boast several custom artworks, including a piece by German artist Jan Hooss in the lobby and a diorama by Sean Murtha in the sales gallery. Prices have not yet been revealed.
DDG’s 12 Warren could be one of the most interesting new buildings. The design is inspired by the uneven stacking of bluestone, and the renderings really go all the way with it. The 12-story building will hold 13 full-floor, duplex, and triplex homes, many with outdoor space. A model residence is being curated in partnership with The Future Perfect.
Upper East Side Tower Reveals its Artsy Side, Preps for Sales
By: Amy Plitt
Now that the 521-foot-tower at 180 East 88th has gotten the green light, construction is underway — and so are the building’s branding efforts. The 48 condos in DDG’s Upper East […]
Now that the 521-foot-tower at 180 East 88th has gotten the green light, construction is underway — and so are the building’s branding efforts. The 48 condos in DDG’s Upper East Side project haven’t gone on the market yet, but that hasn’t stopped the company from launching a teaser that holds clues to what residents may see once the building is complete.
The teaser itself is pretty bare-bones — literally all you can do is request details on the project — but it reveals some details about the building’s art. The cream-colored background, evoking a piece of plaster, is actually a hint at the building’s lobby, which will feature a custom piece by German artist Jan Hooss. And the dreamy painting of Central Park that first appears there is part of a larger mural by Sean Murtha, known for his pieces depicting birds, animals, and other natural environments. Murtha is also creating a custom diorama for the sales gallery.
This isn’t the first time the design-focused DDG has collaborated with artists on its buildings: 345meatpacking, its avant-garde condo on West 14th Street, featured an Andy Warhol exhibition and was, at one point, sheathed in custom polka-dotted scaffolding designed by Yayoi Kusuma.
Sales are expected to start this fall.
New York YIMBY
DDG Breaks Ground on 180 East 88th Street, The Upper East Side’s Future Tallest Tower
By: Rebecca Baird-Remba
DDG has just started construction on 180 East 88th Street, set to become the tallest tower in the Upper East Side. Excavation and site clearing are underway, and the […]
DDG has just started construction on 180 East 88th Street, set to become the tallest tower in the Upper East Side. Excavation and site clearing are underway, and the tower will begin to take shape sometime this fall, according to a spokesman for the developer.
The 50-story structure will feature 30-foot-high masonry arches on its top floors and a facade clad in handmade brick imported from Denmark. Ultimately, the building will stand 521 feet tall, towering over all of its neighbors on East 88th between Third and Lexington Avenues.
Its 48 residences average over 2,000 square feet. Average ceiling heights will reach 16 feet, resulting in some of the largest and most voluminous construction condos in the area.
The ground floor will host a small art gallery and a bike storage room in addition to a spacious lobby with dual entrances. Each residential floor will have just one or two apartments. A penthouse duplex will take up the top two stories and the roof.
DDG handles the design and HTO Architect is the architect of record. DDG also performs design, construction management and property management for all its projects internally.
The bulk of the tower will be set back from the street, and the building’s seven and eight-story base will match the street wall.
The site spans 15,354 square feet and wraps around in an L shape to front Third Avenue and East 88th Street. DDG picked up the site in December 2013. Demolition of the prior structures was completed in Fall 2014. Excavation began in April 2015 and vertical construction will commence in Fall 2015.
The Upper East Side’s generous zoning has made it a hotbed for new high-rise condo towers. The short list includes two 21-story towers planned near the 86th Street stop on the 4/5/6, at 1289 Lexington Avenue and 147 East 86th Street, an Extell-developed condo project in the works on Third Avenue between 94th and 95th Streets, and a glassy development designed by SHoP under construction at 1711 First Avenue.
Since the MTA is working overtime to finish the Second Avenue Subway by late 2016 or early 2017, the construction boom may even accelerate in the next two years.
Upper East Side’s Tallest Tower Gets Green Light to Build
By: Hana R. Alberts
Hey, Upper East Siders. It’s time to really brace for the tallest tower in the neighborhood, coming to 88th Street between Lexington Avenue and Third Avenue. The 521-foot […]
Hey, Upper East Siders. It’s time to really brace for the tallest tower in the neighborhood, coming to 88th Street between Lexington Avenue and Third Avenue. The 521-foot tower, which is being designed, developed and built by DDG, got its new building permit today.
The building, filling an L-shaped lot that faces both Third Avenue and 88th Street, will only contain 48 condos — which means that each one will be pretty huge. There are also going to be 16-foot ceilings, and, as for the facade, the design is contextual as far as the Upper East Side goes. It’s brick and there are rather stately decorative arches.
Here’s a shot behind the blue plywood of the construction site taken recently and the outline of the building’s footprint posted on-site:
And here are past renderings of the building:
New York YIMBY
180 East 88th Street to Become New York City’s Tallest Skyscraper Above 72nd Street
By: Nikolai Fedak
Back in February, YIMBY revealed the first renderings of DDG’s new tower coming to 180 East 88th Street. Now, YIMBY has also learned that the project’s 521-foot height […]
Back in February, YIMBY revealed the first renderings of DDG’s new tower coming to 180 East 88th Street. Now, YIMBY has also learned that the project’s 521-foot height (it has seen a bump from 469 feet) will make it the tallest building north of 72nd Street. A tipster has also sent along demolition photos, which show the old tenements that formerly occupied the site have now been cleared to make way for the 50-story building.
A tower of this height could be lost in the canyons of the Financial District or Midtown, but the upper reaches of the East Side are relatively short, and this part of Carnegie Hill is particularly dominated by low-rise structures. It will surpass the current leader, at 1214 Fifth Avenue on the corner of 102nd Street, by eight feet.
The site’s base elevation of approximately 80 feet will give the tower a little extra boost when it comes to overall prominence, and the building will add a new apex to the neighborhood skyline. There are many buildings with larger floor counts in the vicinity, but none will have the average ceiling heights of 180 East 88th Street, which will approach 16 feet. DOB filings indicate the tower will total 151,458 square feet, which will be split between 48 condominiums.
New construction in the vicinity is much more contextual than in most parts of New York, and most projects feature facades dominated by masonry rather than glass. Other nearby examples including 151 East 78th Street and 1010 Park Avenue, the former designed by Peter Pennoyer and the latter by Beyer Blinder Belle.
DDG’s addition will be faced in handmade brick, but the cantilever and crown will give it a strong contemporary edge. DDG designs and builds its own projects.
The site also includes the lots at 1556 and 1558 Third Avenue, as well as air rights from 1550, 1552, and 1554 Third Avenue, and additional air rights purchased from the neighborhood. Foundation permits have now been approved, meaning construction has begun. Completion is tentatively slated for 2018.
Real Estate Weekly
DDG Building East Side’s Tallest Apartment Tower
By: Dan Orlando
Development firm DDG has filed plans for what will be the tallest residential building on the Upper East Side. The building, 180 East 88th Street, will measure 521 feet tall. Developed […]
Development firm DDG has filed plans for what will be the tallest residential building on the Upper East Side. The building, 180 East 88th Street, will measure 521 feet tall. Developed by Joseph A. McMillan, Jr.’s DDG, which will also design, build and manage the tower, the 50-story building will surpass 1214 Fifth Avenue (at the corner of 102nd Street), currently the tallest building on the UES, by eight feet.
Filings with the Department of Buildings show the tower will total 151,458 SF, space that will be split between 48 residences, plus amenities and commercial space. The building design will be a “fresh perspective on the classic prewar apartment building,” according to DDG’s website.
The site also includes the lots at 1556 and 1558 Third Avenue, as well as air rights from 1550, 1552, and 1554 Third Avenue, and additional air rights purchased from the neighborhood. Foundation permits have now been approved, giving construction the go ahead.
According to the firm’s website, the residences will feature panoramic views of the Manhattan skyline, Central Park and the East River. A full suite of services and amenities will be provided.
As with many of the firm’s other projects, the building will be eco-friendly, with the firm planning to have the building LEED certified, and include an irrigated exterior planter system, green roof system, green marquee, and green cleaning program.
The building will be DDG’s first uptown project, and is slated for completion in 2018.
DDG has several residential projects they have completed and that are in the works in New York City, including 100 Franklin and 12 Warren in Tribeca, 325 West Broadway and 25 Wooster in Soho, 41 Bond in Noho and 345meatpacking in the Meatpacking District.
The company has acquired, designed, built and developed more than two million square feet of property on the east and west coasts, and also has an office in San Francisco.
New York YIMBY
First Look: 180 East 88th, DDG’s 31-Story Upper East Side Tower
By: Nikolai Fedak
Back in August, YIMBY reported on the first permits for a new building coming to 180 East 88th Street, on the corner of Third Avenue. DDG was behind the filings […]
Back in August, YIMBY reported on the first permits for a new building coming to 180 East 88th Street, on the corner of Third Avenue. DDG was behind the filings, and the firm designs and builds the bulk of their projects in-house as well. And now, we have the first renderings for the 50-story tower, though plans are not yet final.
The DOB filings reveal a total construction area measuring 151,458 square feet, and split between the 48 apartments listed on filings, that yields an average unit size surpassing 3,000 square feet. The palatially-sized homes will have ceiling heights to match, 50 floors, and it will stand 521 feet to its roof.
HTO Architects is listed on the permit as the architect of record, but as mentioned, DDG does most of their design and construction work in-house. Like their recent projects at 41 Bond and 345meatpacking, that should yield a contextually-minded building that improves upon the neighborhood architectural lexicon.
In the case of 180 East 88th — the building will feature a distinguished stone facade. Massive arched windows will crown the structure, also lining the ground floor and one of the mid-levels, after the initial setbacks.
On the very top, the facade will continue past the arched windows, and the rooftop mechanicals will also be covered in a stone parapet. At the base, the building’s envelope will match the existing street-wall, with a set of staggered setbacks yielding to the intermediary level with arched windows.
Nearby projects include 1711 First Avenue (on the corner of East 89th Street, designed by SHoP and under development by Anbau Enterprises), as well as 1768 Second Avenue (on the corner of East 92nd Street, where Curtis + Ginsberg are designing and Extell is developing).
As the Second Avenue subway comes closer to completion, the Upper East Side should continue to boom. Luckily the product coming to market will cater to a relatively diverse range of incomes, ranging from the uber-rich for the (likely) astronomically-priced 180 East 88th, down to the “ordinarily wealthy” for buildings like Related’s 203 East 92nd Street.
Further uptown, new rentals at developments like East River Plaza and HAP’s 2211 Third Avenue will cater both to upper-middle class residents, as well as lower-income residents who secure lottery-allocated “affordable” apartments included alongside the luxury rentals.
If any situation merits the repeal of New York State’s hard cap on residential density, one could make an excellent case for the eastern edge of the Upper East Side, which will soon become much more accessible with the opening of the Second Avenue Subway. As 180 East 88th makes obvious, development pressure is already pushing price-points in the neighborhood’s new projects higher; allowing even larger buildings would help plug the gap between supply and increasingly pent-up demand.
As for 180 East 88th, no completion date has been announced, and per DDG, the building is “currently in its early stages.”
DDG Files Permits for New Carnegie Hill Tower
By: Rowley Amato
DDG recently filed permits for a new development on the Upper East Side at 180 East 88th Street. The 521-foot, 50-story tower will have 182,995 square feet of residential space, […]
DDG recently filed permits for a new development on the Upper East Side at 180 East 88th Street. The 521-foot, 50-story tower will have 182,995 square feet of residential space, crazily spread across just 48 units, which New York YIMBY helpfully points out is an average of 3,500 square feet per unit. Each floor will also have 15-foot ceilings.
The site, which DDG bought last year for $70 million, sits on the corner of Third Avenue.
New York YIMBY
Permits Filed: 180 East 88th Street
By: Stephen Smith
In the past, DDG’s projects have all been on or below 14th Street, but the integrated design-and-development firm has finally moved uptown: today their architects filed permits for a tower […]
In the past, DDG’s projects have all been on or below 14th Street, but the integrated design-and-development firm has finally moved uptown: today their architects filed permits for a tower at 180 East 88th Street, on the Upper East Side.
The 521-foot, 50-story tower will sit at the corner of Third Avenue, on a site that they picked up from Muss Development for nearly $70 million.
The permit indicates 182,995 square feet of residential space (though, confusingly, just 151,458 square feet of total construction area) divided among just 48 apartments. Even using the lower square footage, this works out to apartments that are nearly 3,500 square feet in size on average – far larger than the average new American single-family home. Units this large combined with the extreme ceiling heights (each story will be more than 15 feet, including mechanical space) and DDG’s past projects all but guarantee that it will be condos.
The project will be by far the most attractive on this stretch of Third Avenue, once dubbed Birnbaum Canyon for all of the Philip Birnbaum-designed middle-class towers that went up after World War II. That building boom was sparked by the demolition of the old IRT Third Avenue elevated line, and perhaps aided by the fact that the Yorkville section of the Upper East Side was one of the last desirable corners of New York City with generous zoning under the 1961 code. (That loose zoning is still in effect, though rent stabilization and controls have made redeveloping the avenues’ remaining tenements difficult.)
The current boom is also likely being sped along by rapid transit, but by addition rather than subtraction. By 2016, the first phase of the Second Avenue subway, on the Upper East Side, should open. It will have a stop at 86th Street, and will provide a one-seat ride across 59th Street to the West Side and then down Broadway, as an extension of the Q (at least for the foreseeable future, before the third and fourth phases downtown are completed). The DDG site, however, is actually closer to the current express stop on Lexington Avenue than it will be to the Second Avenue one.
HTO Architect is the architect of record, but DDG does its own design. There will be no parking included.
New York Times
The 30-Minute Interview – Joseph A. McMillan, Jr.
By: Vivian Marino
Mr. McMillan, 42, is the chief executive and chairman of DDG, an investment, architecture, construction and development firm that focuses mainly on […]
Mr. McMillan, 42, is the chief executive and chairman of DDG, an investment, architecture, construction and development firm that focuses mainly on residential and mixed-use projects. Past developments include the 41 Bond and 345meatpacking condominiums; DDG is currently working on several other down-town projects, among them 325 West Broadway, a former chocolate factory, and 100 Franklin Street.
DDG was founded in 2009.
Interview conducted and condensed by Vivian Marino.
Q. There are other principals at the firm. What is your main role?
A. My main role is to run the company and set strategy: what we’re going to do over the next 12, 24, 36 months, and the long-term planning as well. I’m also in charge of acquisitions.
Q. Your company takes on many roles in development as well, from design to property management.
A. The integration, we think, helps us control the quality of our product and differentiates us from the market. The quality control we’re able to have — given we are developer, designer and the general contractor — enables us from start to finish to end up with a product that we’re really happy with.
Q. So how is business?
A. Business is very good. We did our first project in 2009 and so we are about four and a half years in, going on our fifth year, and it’s going exceptionally well. We have the office in New York; we have an office in San Francisco; and we’re actively acquiring buildings.
Q. How many projects are you working on?
A. Between New York City and San Francisco we have 10 in total. In New York City we currently have six.
Q. Let’s talk a little bit about some of them, starting with the Chocolate Factory Building project.
A. There are two separate buildings at the project, actually. One is a new construction and the other is a landmark renovation. We’ll be doing a series of maisonettes, full-floors and penthouses.
We broke ground for the new construction last year. We would expect construction to be complete next year, and we would expect to market units at some point between now and the beginning of next year, subject to approval of the offering plan. There’s currently contemplated to be 21 units and retail. The bulk of the building will be two- and three-bedroom units, some as large as four- or five-, and there are a small number of one-bedroom units.
Q. How about 12-14 Warren Street?
A. Warren is also under construction. It started approximately the same time as West Broadway. Warren will be a combination of large, 4,000- to 5,000-square-feet full-floor units and some duplexes. A lot will have outdoor space. It’s designed with families in mind.
Q. DDG recently received approval from the Landmarks Preservation Commission for a new building design at 100 Franklin.
A. We worked with L.P.C. and the members of the community to get to a project that we think is beautifully designed.
We went through two, three iterations to get to where we are now. I think that generally Landmarks was very, very happy. And we’re very happy with the outcome. I would expect we would break ground next year. We haven’t settled on the number of units — it’s still in the design phase — but it will also have retail.
Q. What else do you have in the pipeline?
A. 180 East 88th Street — it’s a tower. It will be our first project on the Upper East Side. We’re still drawing the project — we have not filed with the Building Department yet — but we would anticipate there to be full-floor units and some half-floor units.
It will be ground up. There are currently three four- to five-story buildings on the site that have been vacant for some time and which are in the process of being demolished.
We purchased the site and the ability to do a cantilever over the neighbor to the south.
We also have a project in Brooklyn that we are waiting to close on — our first project in Brooklyn. It’ll be a conversion of an existing building to condominiums — a beautiful masonry 100-year-old building.
Q. Where is that building?
A. I’d rather not say presently.
Q. DDG has some of the more attractive construction sites. For instance, you shrouded 345meatpacking in a black-and-yellow netting designed by the Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama.
A. We collaborated there with the Whitney Museum and Yayoi Kusama to wrap our building in the work she had done some 20 years earlier. And so it was 120 feet tall, 150 feet wide around the building. We thought it was a creative opportunity to do something for the neighborhood.
Q. Do you live in, or plan to live in, any of your projects?
A. I live at 41 Bond, the inaugural project. It is a duplex with a backyard.
I am personally invested in every project we have done.
Q. I understand you have an Army background. Has it helped you in this business?
A. Tremendously. It teaches you a sense of discipline, tenacity and self.
I went in as an E1, which was a private, and I got out as a specialist, an E4.